DreamVille up-and-comer J.I.D shows continued development on his new album. Utilizing a plethora of flows and sharp lyricism, the Atlanta native shows he is not to be overlooked, and is here to be one of the greats.
2017’s The Never Story put J.I.D on my radar in a big way. It went down as one of my favorite hip-hop albums of the year and left me incredibly excited to see where J.I.D would go next. When he announced DiCaprio 2, I was beyond excited we would be getting more from him so soon. It was one of my most highly anticipated albums of 2018, and I am happy to say that it did not disappoint.
J.I.D has taken what he began with his debut album and hammered his style down into a very recognizable one. He has a very distinct voice. Both how he raps (and occasionally sings) are unique enough to instantly place when you hear him. But the thing to really look out for that sets him apart is his flow: I don’t think I have ever heard a rapper hit so many flows on one release. There are songs on this album that run the whole gamut, and if some rappers aren’t sitting down with a pen and paper when hearing DiCaprio 2, they are making a mistake. The single “151 Rum” is a great example of this, as nearly every other line shows him utilizing a different pace throughout the track.
J.I.D knows he is good, and he is not afraid to show it. His lyricism and flow control are hard to match, and I think there are very few current rappers who could keep up with him. One who certainly can is his boss and friend J. Cole. Working in tandem on the track “Off Deez”, the two of them put the game on notice with their blistering speed through absolute tongue twisters of lines. In the song, Cole himself raps the line ‘J.I.D the closest thing to me’. That is certainly a big accolade for J.I.D.
I hinted at his lyricism earlier, which is something I definitely want to highlight. DiCaprio 2 tackles a lot of topics. Some more conventional rap themes, such as discussing his rise from being broke and down and out and boasting bravado, are present in many tracks. But J.I.D also hints at the stigma that men being emotional is a sign of weakness and hating it. On that same track, “Skrawberries”, he raps about struggles in a relationship but not giving up on the other person. Later in the track, he goes on to rap about female empowerment.
‘My home girl rap and she feminist/Hold it down for the women, call her Feminem‘
J.I.D is showing his proficiency as a rapper to gain fans, but he also has another thing going for him: he is incredibly active on Twitter and takes a lot of time to reply to and interact with fans on the platform. He posts regularly on all his social media accounts, but his Twitter feels more personal, and it’s really cool to see artists so willingly to connect with and engage with their fans. If this is a trend to continue when he is inevitably one of the biggest rappers around, I would love it. Every time I check my Twitter, I see him replying to fans. From simple thanks for supporting him to cracking jokes with them, he is always replying. I don’t think any artist has an obligation to that, but it is refreshing to see artists who seem to genuinely care about their supporters.
It’s not always just about blistering bars and masterful flow work. J.I.D isn’t afraid to show his sensitivity and emotion. The track “Tiiied”, featuring longtime friend and collaborator 6LACK,as well as R&B singer Ella Mai, is more of an R&B track. J.I.D sings more than he raps on this track, and it isn’t all about speed. He takes his time detailing a strained relationship at its end, and being tired of the fighting and being lied to. Both his verse and the verse from 6LACK echo that same sentiment, which is broken up by the third verse of Ella Mai. She repeats the same sentiments as her male counterparts, but from the perspective of the female in the relationship. She counters that there is no truth in her lying, and that she too is tired. It is a truly beautiful track that breaks up the hip-hop of DiCaprio 2 and separates J.I.D further from many of his rivals.
DiCaprio 2 is a great album, but I wouldn’t say I enjoy it more than The Never Story. I would say it is either a parallel or slightly under my love for that release, but that is not a slight. It is easily one of the best hip-hop albums of the year, and when J.I.D releases another album, I would be surprised if it doesn’t come out with him being one of the most recognized rappers in the world. He deserves the success, as this album, in particular, blows so much hip-hop out of the water and elevates him to a position where few can ever hope to achieve. The sky is the limit for this young man, and if both albums are indicative of anything, it’s that he is shooting past the sky and straight to the stars.